Google with no work experience. Silicon Valley programmer on Russian diplomas, interviews and work in the USA

    I have one hobby - to interview IT professionals from Silicon Valley. Not for the purpose of hiring, but simply about life in the United States and work in large companies.
    My hero today is Eugene Krasko, a YouTube programmer.

    Google programmer on Russian diplomas, interviews and work in Silicon Valley

    - I come from Yekaterinburg, after graduating from high school I entered ITMO at the Department of Computer Technology and moved to Petersburg. After 2 years, I transferred to the department of higher mathematics, and in the 4th year I decided that I still need to do programming. I began to study practical programming in Java courses at Exigen Services, and went to theoretical courses at the Computer Science Club. In parallel, I began to enroll in graduate studies at Academic University in the direction of Software Engineering.

    I liked the master's program - I went through internships at Yandex and JetBrains; I began to work as a teacher in the department - and after graduation I remained in graduate school at SPbAU. At the same time, after six months of work, I decided to try on Google (approx. - YouTube belongs to Google) and received an offer. Thus, Google is my second employer, and as a programmer, it’s the first. The process of moving was quite a long one: almost a year and a half passed from the moment of the first interview until the first working day. Even after you receive an offer, there is still a lot to do: getting a visa, selecting a team and moving yourself. However, such long terms played into my hands - thanks to them I did a lot in graduate school. All that remained was to defend my dissertation, which I did when I returned to Russia for a short while from the United States two years later.

    Initially, I applied to Google in the USA, and the most direct way is the H1-B work visa. It is intended for highly qualified specialists, but has an annual quota, and I did not get into it. Then I was offered a district route - L1 visa, the so-called transfer within the company. In order for an employee to be transferred to an American office, he must work for at least a year in the office of the same company in another country. Google recruiters offered me a choice of Canada, Australia and Switzerland, and I settled on the latter. Mostly because my friends lived there - my classmates. A year later, I was already in Silicon Valley.

    - What is the difference between the workflow in the US and Swiss offices of Google?

    - I am often asked about the differences between work and life in Zurich and Silicon Valley. I did not notice any serious differences in the structure of the workflow. Perhaps this is because the work of my current team is closely related to the one in which I worked in Switzerland. In fact, we are working on one project and often fly to each other on business trips. Offices are arranged a little differently, and the rhythm of life is also different - everything here is for larks, and in the Swiss office - for owls. Although the latter is rather a necessity, because many local YouTube and Google teams work with teams from Europe. And for team interaction, there is a very short period of time conveniently crossing between time zones: in Europe it is evening, and in the USA it is morning.


    - How is your typical working day?

    - If there are no morning rallies with Zurich, then I come to work most often by 10 o’clock. It seems to me that I am one of the most recent, because office parking is already full. Well, then everything is standard: I answer emails, program and go to rallies.

    - What are you working on?

    - I am working on an internal project. This is an infrastructure for testing: we make services that our developers use to test their code.

    - Are Russian diplomas appreciated in the USA?

    - For American companies, it does not really matter which country issued the diploma to the programmer. Here, maybe a little more attention is paid if there is a master's degree. And, by the way, quite often when evaluating a diploma in the USA, this degree is also awarded to developers who graduated from Russian universities with a specialist diploma (5-year education). In general, a diploma plays a serious role only in the absence of work experience or for obtaining a working American visa, although this is also not a panacea. Knowledge and experience are important for getting a job.

    –How are Google tech interviews going?

    - My interview took place in St. Petersburg (Google still had an office there). At that time I worked as a teacher of discrete mathematics at the Academic University and, accordingly, this was indicated in my resume. During the interview, I had the impression that many interviewers asked questions related to my current work and wanted to check if I really understood what I was teaching. I really liked the tasks that were offered to me; they were diverse and interesting.

    Now I also conduct technical interviews with candidates and, on the contrary, try to ask the same questions so that everyone is on an equal footing. And then it’s easier for me to compare the candidates among themselves. Previously, it was fashionable for Google to ask various puzzles at interviews (most likely, many people met puzzles about a coin and about a blender), but over time the company realized that such tasks were not indicative, and even introduced a ban on them.

    - How is the final decision on the candidate made?

    - For each candidate, interviewers must fill out a special form in which you need to describe how the interview process went and evaluate the candidate according to several objective criteria. Further, these evaluation forms from each interviewer are processed by HR managers and transferred to the so-called Hiring Committee. Committee members make the final decision. The committee also includes Google engineers, but they cannot be the same engineers who directly interviewed candidates.

    - How much do programmers pay on Google?

    - It is difficult to say: it is not customary to discuss salaries with colleagues, in Russia there is a simpler attitude to this. But overall this is a very broad question: it all depends on the level at which the programmer is hired, and the skills to bargain when receiving an offer. For the same level, the monthly salary will be approximately the same, but the size of other types of remuneration can vary greatly. The presence of a counteroffer and the ability to “sell” oneself decide a lot.

    As with many US IT companies, Google’s salary consists of three parts. The first is a monthly salary that comes to the card in a fixed amount, which is fixed in the contract upon signing the offer, and then, possibly, changes at the beginning of each year. At the end of the year they give the second part - a bonus, which depends on how much the person has surpassed himself. Finally, the third part is the stock. Shares are given upon signing the offer, but they can be sold only according to a certain scheme: for example, you can’t sell at all in the first year, 25% in the second, 25% in the third, and so on. For each next year you are given a new block of shares with a similar cashing scheme. Of course, this is done in order to keep the employee, and often people can’t get off this hook, because in large companies, stocks are growing every year.


    - What bonuses does Google have besides salary?

    - Medical services cost me almost nothing, because Google pays its employees and all members of their families general health insurance, as well as separate dental and ophthalmic. On average, in California, where Silicon Valley is located, I think these health insurance could cost several thousand dollars per person. Also, I almost do not spend money on food, because there are many cafes in the office where there is a free breakfast, lunch and dinner. For Google employees, there are many other pleasant "goodies" - decent discounts on various goods and services, a cool office with a free gym and pool, massage in the office.

    - A question that HRs love to ask at interviews: how do you see yourself in 5 years?

    - I have no very specific goals. But I, for example, do not want to go into management; most likely I want to remain an engineer and get an increasingly large area of ​​responsibility in this area.

    At Google, as it has historically developed, developer levels start at 3rd. When I was hired, I was given the 3rd level (relatively speaking, Junior), because I had neither the experience of working as a programmer, nor the degree of Ph.D. Then I advanced to level 4, and recently to level 5. This level is already called “Senior”. From my Russian friends, I know that promotion in Russia sometimes happens faster. Many who in the Russian companies had a Senior level get Middle here.

    Google has quite a few levels - there is room to grow, but with each new level it is becoming more and more difficult. There is only one or two 11th level developers for the entire company.

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